Novak Djokovic of Serbia, currently ranked world No. 6 in singles by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP)) will not be playing in the U.S. Open, the last major tournament of the season, as many have expected, due to his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Djokovic wrote via his social network account on Friday, "Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for U.S. Open," adding that he would "keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States requires all foreign visitors to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States. Djokovic hoped for a relaxing of the rules by the CDC ahead of US Open but announced his decision to pull out three days before the tournament's opening.
Djokovic who could not play in Australian Open, the first major tennis tournament of the season, said in his BBC interview that he would not play even if it were a major tournament if he is forced to get vaccinated. He could play in French Open (made to the quarterfinals) and Wimbledon (current champion) because COVID-19 vaccination was not mandatory unlike U.S. Open.
Three-time winner of U.S. Open, Djokovic could have gained the most titles in male singles (22 times) in the world's biggest tennis tournaments if he participated in and won U.S. Open this time along with Raphael Nadal of Spain currently ranked world No. 2 in singles by the ATP.